Worcestershire, May 2012.
I’ve been wondering what constitutes the difference between a novel and a novella. Julian Barnes’ 2011 Mann Booker Prize winner could certainly be considered to be on the short side, at only 150 pages – however, in the same manner as J.L Carr’s ‘A Month in the Country, it’s slight appearence does not in anyway diminish it’s power.
This story begs the question, do we ever really present a truthful representation of ourselves to the world? Or, do we settle upon a version of ones personality, be it accurate or not. Memories can play cruel tricks upon ones mind – a group of friends will quite often have completely conflicting memories of incidents from their shared past. The end of a relationship or friendship will be seen from two opposite points of view.
It it only as one gets older that we are sometimes forced to confront our perceptions, and re-evaluate past events – in the process perhaps reaching a conclusion that we would rather not have reached at the time.
Life will often throw up unwanted and sometimes unexpected surprises – this novel captures a mans attempts to cope with this, in the process accepting what he was always too blind to see.
A very moving and thought provoking novel….
In 1993, my Mother died from an asthma attack. She was only forty-four years old. In 2006, following a long illness, I myself developed asthma at the age of thirty-three.
- Over 5 million people in the UK have asthma
- Every 7 hours somebody in the UK dies from asthma
- Every 16 minutes a child is admitted to hospital because of their asthma
- 40% of people with asthma were diagnosed after their 18th birthday
- 90% of asthma deaths are preventable
- 1 in 10 children in the UK has asthma
This isn’t the sort of thing I would normally contemplate doing, however in this case I do have a very good reason. This September, I will be walking from Bridgnorth to Ross on Wye, via the Malvern Hills, and including the Worcestershire way. Depending on how distracted I become along the way, I guess I’m looking at about 70 miles.
All nice and easy! However, I’m only allowing myself three days to complete this task, and of course I can assure you all that I’ll be fit enough by September to do it!
The reason I’m doing this is to support Asthma UK. This charity is very, very close to my heart. My mum Dyan, died as a result of a severe asthma attack aged only 44 years – a tragic loss of life, and way too young.
So, as I race toward middle age, it’s important for me to do this; not only to remember my mum, but to support and raise a greater awareness of a condition, that with greater research and more effective treatment will help save lives, young and old.
So, now the part I hate when I have to ask you to sponsor me. If you feel able to support me, then any amount will be more than gratefully accepted. I do realise that these are difficult times for many people, so vocal support during that weekend, (23/24/25 September), would be more than welcome if you live nearby…..
It’s taken a while, almost three long years; but I’ve finally reached the hundred post mark. When this blog started, back in 2008, my main intention was to write about politics, with perhaps one or two side issues. However, at the beginning of this year I took the decision to begin to write about more personal issues, including more intimate details about myself.
I’ve never been totally at ease with this direction; perhaps some of my writing has been too personal at times; one has to be careful not to cross the line, and I know I’ve come very close on more than one occassion. Since the turn of the year though, my number of readers and visitors has increased massively, so now that I’ve reached the one hundred posts mark, I’m going to take a day or two to decide whether to change direction again, or even if I’ll continue at all. After all who wants to continually read the inane ramblings of a miserable, middle-aged man?!
Thank you to every single person who has visited over the past three years, I do appreciate the support and feedback I’ve received, especially this year.
How often in one’s life do a series of events, or what may seem to be impossible situations, leave one feeling totally hopeless, and not at all in control? Well,that’s exactly how I feel at this very moment, hopeless and grasping in the dark for some sort of solution.
It always seems to be the case that events take over my very well-ordered life and leave me frozen to the spot, unable to make a move, or make a decisive decision; even a bad one. So, yet again, a culmination of new and older incidents has left me floundering; without going into too much detail, I received some possibly bad news about work a few days ago, and this, combined with some long-standing personal anguish has almost broken me.
If I could think of a really poor way to describe this, I guess it would be that I feel like a really out of date computer that no one has any use for anymore, and at this very moment would probably be found out the back in a skip, waiting to be taken to the rubbish dump. I promise not to continue this computer metaphor any longer, but it’s got to the stage now where my brain needs a serious system reboot.
There comes a point when one has become so tired that you just need to stop, step outside yourself and objectively examine each problem; of course, this all sounds very simple, and it probably should be; the execution however is somewhat different. It can become increasingly hard to fight your way out of the mire when you simply don’t have the strength, or the energy to carry on. I’ve always possessed a certain degree of inner strength; regular readers of this blog will have some idea of the sometimes self-inflicted battles that I have put myself through over the years. This fortitude is not infinite though; there surely has to come a point where one can not take too much more, or the set backs and dead ends become too much. I’m not sure how many times one can start again, regroup or fight back.
This isn’t designed to be some massive moaning session; far from it. It’s simply an attempt to begin to clear my head, to try to regain a sense of perspective about my life, to sort out which pieces fit, and perhaps to remove those that don’t. My brain is fit to burst at the moment; I’d be the first to admit that I sometimes make too much of various situations; and there can be little doubt that I think too much and quite often over complicate things. The simple truth is that my life should be far less complicated than I sometimes make it, and the solution to that is something that I need to work out sooner rather than later.
The longer one continues to remain frozen to the spot like a frightened animal, the harder it becomes. So far, my poor attempts to resolve this have mainly involved drinking huge amounts of wine and quite often anything else that I’ve got to hand; this is a dangerous path to take, not least because I’m not really supposed to be drinking at all; but also because drinking to forget really does not work. In my case, it makes things worse, and only leaves me feeling a sense of loss for something that I can’t really begin to explain or express. In reality this feeling probably relates to many things; age, personal relationships and my failed attempts at them, work and many other things too dull to mention.
So, I’ve decided to try to start again. It’s time to stop, take stock and re-evaluate my life; keep what’s good and throw away the bad. It could take some time.
Jealousy drags you down, it is the most childish, yet destructive of human emotions. Jealousy can cripple friendships, destroy relationships; if you’re not careful, it takes over your life; if you’re really stupid, it ruins it.
Jealousy becomes all consuming, it clouds your judgement, defies all reason, it knows no bounds.
Bitterness and jealousy, rising from within you like acid from your stomach. All that remains is the foul aftertaste; mistrust mixing with what was once only love, in a destructive cocktail of self doubt, anger and loss.
What was never there will never come to pass.
Note to Midlands food and drink aficionado’s; a very talented friend of mine is shortly launching a new Birmingham and Solihull based magazine and website. Now for some odd reason, she has asked me to contribute with my poor writing skills.
Obviously I’m chuffed as chuffed can be; this is all very exciting, and hopefully I’ll get to try lots of things I’d never normally dream of putting in my mouth!
So, as a nod to my new part-time boss here is a link: Culinary Pursuits Information page